Obstacles to women in parliament in Kenya include perceptions that men are better candidates and the money required for a campaign. The point is made that parliamentarians need to look to their own party practices as much as they are prepared to support gender equity laws.
Gender expert and women leader at Dialogue for Development Network Jackline Oduor says misconception that men are best suited for political offices is largely to blame for the scenario. “Women in Nyanza have always contested positions but it is the unfortunate misconception among voters that men are better candidates that has always worked against women in politics,” says Prof Oduor. “Party nomination and campaigns require money which most women do not have. Women may also not be very good at mobilising resources,” she says. Oduor who lectures at USIU says advocacy and voter sensitisation could change the equation. “Voters need to be educated to go for leadership and not focus on gender or how much money someone has,” she added. She says women should identify with political parties that believe in women leadership.